Frank (4194) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - DEC 26, 2004
This is a big one. Nose drips with thick, pungent fruit, molasses, pine and a small hint of chocolate. Clear brown amber in the glass with about fifteen or twenty minutes worth of head--four oz or so if you’re taking your time. Hop bite comes up front and smooths to a big, syrupy mouthfull of fruit which in turn fades to unashamed alcohol and earthy hop bitterness. Definitely harsh around the edges. Some aging would hopefully tame this but as it is, it’s a slow sipper that needs some getting used to before you can explore the full range of it’s flavors. spkldhenlvr24 (517) - Newburgh/Buffalo, New York, USA - DEC 23, 2004
Solid barley wine. Dark ruby, cloudy body with a small off-white head. Great fruity, grape, wine aroma. Very smooth berry/fruity taste. Alcohol bite. Strong malty finish. Enjoyable beer. Pigfoot (2268) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - DEC 20, 2004
Appearance: a brilliantly ruby reddish hue, with a darkish head that dies down immediately.
Aroma: dazzling! full of dark fruits (cherries, berries, grapes), and wine, port, cognac... a very evident alcoholic component!
Big hops, big malt, big booze: that’s the basic lineup, but when it all tastes so good, who could want anything else
A sweet, syrupy characteristic shines through the mouthfeel...the fruit and the booze (brandyish) totally dominates the overall texture.
One thoroughly decadent ale, and a truly stand-out examples of a barleywine. joeec5 (204) - bayonne, New Jersey, USA - DEC 19, 2004
UPDATED: DEC 20, 2004 2003. Murky brown with small white lacing. Aroma is mildly sweet with raisins and dates. Taste is smooth dark fruits with wood and vanilla. Bitterness and slight alcohol are present in finish. chandernagor (39) - Oak Park, Illinois, USA - DEC 18, 2004
Pours dark amber color, clear, white head with a nice lacing. Aroma is pretty sweet, caramel, honey, dried apricots, prunes and... alcohol. Flavor starts sweet with caramel, honey, licorice and cherry, turns woody/earthy and ends on some more hoppy notes (pine and citrus) with a final kick of whisky. Very good creamy mouthfeel, very smooth and well rounded. This could age wonderfully.
Hairofthedog (419) - San Diego, California, USA - DEC 16, 2004
This was 2002 vintage on tap at O’Brien’s. Big caramel sweetness, vinious, w/ dark fruit undertones on the nose. Rich brown w/ goldin highlights and good lasting head and lacing. The flavor was full of caramel. Earthy undertones and dark fruit w/ hints of pine/ citrusy notes. Very complex. Creamy and tangy on the tongue, well rounded and medium bodied on mouthfeel. I liked this beer. MI2CA (1340) - Noblesville, Indiana, USA - DEC 10, 2004
UPDATED: JAN 29, 2007 2003 12oz - The aroma is very strong and pungent of prunes and other fruits I don’t eat. Looks thick brown with no head. STRONG flavor that doesn’t stop after you swallow. The aftertaste is actually just as strong as the beer itself. A sign of a great brew in my opinion. I know the alcohol is there, but the taste doesn’t reflect it as much as the aroma. The label tells me otherwise. I bet they will get better with age and I look forward to drinking them later in life.biz82 (1327) - austin, Texas, USA - DEC 4, 2004
Update 05/21/05 - Just got a 4 pk of the 2002 from Khan’s on Keystone in Indy. This is even smoother than I remember. I feel that they shouldn’t even sell this beer until they age it at least two years. It has all the strong characteristics I described in my first rating, but is even better due to the smoothness. I still plan on aging this even more to see if it can possible improve.
Update 01/29/07 - Drinking another 2002 and I feel it has finally peaked or past that. The aroma and flavor are still amazing, but mellow enough that I don’t see it improving much more.
Murky muddy red in color with no head. Aroma of dates and prunes and caramel and alcohol. Pleasant, almost casual presence in the mouth with lively carbonation and light fruit flavors. Finishes with an alcohol burn. Dangerous. KAggie97 (3529) - Ugly, Hot, and Humid Spring, Texas, USA - DEC 3, 2004
UPDATED: APR 10, 2007 2003 Whew! Take your time with this one. Subtle begining followed by a kick in the groin alchol presence. Good on a cold night- -before bed.
2005, sampled right after buying Sammy (12210) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 2, 2004
Pours thick and rich, with a raisin-like tint to it. Head is generous for the short-term, but retreats southward in the long-term. Rush of fruit, like a liquified bottle of jelly. Notes of strawberry, raisin, and a bit of peach. Palate is thick and coating. A truly fine vintage. Can’t wait to see what this year does over the long haul.
2005, 4/10/07 Age has intensified the raisin aroma. Still has the deep mohagony that I have grown to know and love. The flavor has attained a slight banana tinge, with a bit of raisin bread baking in the oven. Mouthfeel is still thick and coating.
2003 vintage. A reddish brown ale after fizzing from a high quality Belgian-like pour. Some cognac and barleyiwne aroma. Fine carbonation on the tongue. Immediate tummy warming from the alcohol. Barley wine and malt tastes, with Eno epsom salt. Numbing aftertaste.